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Thread: Should illegal drugs be taxed?

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    SVZ
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    Default Should illegal drugs be taxed?

    In April of 2005, Jeremy Robbins was arrested attempting to traffic two tons of marijuana from Arizona to East Tennessee. Indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges, Robbins was soon assessed a $1.1 million fine from Tennessee's Department of Revenue. The reason: failure to comply with the state's Unauthorized Substances Tax, which requires anyone in possession of a certain quantity of contraband in the case of marijuana, more than 42.5 grams to buy a tax stamp from the state government and affix it on the drug.

    The so-called "crack tax" applies to controlled substances like marijuana and cocaine, and also illicit alcoholic beverages like moonshine. It allows someone to anonymously purchase stamps in person from the Department of Revenue based on the type and amount of the substance ($3.50 for a gram of marijuana, $50 for a gram of cocaine, etc.) with the understanding that doing so cannot be used against them in a criminal court. Posessing drugs is still illegal the tax works completely outside the criminal justice system. A stamp cannot provide immunity from criminal prosecution, and a conviction of possession isn't required for the Department of Revenue to assess the penalties.

    Of the 726 stamps sold so far (some to collectors as novelty items), none have turned up during a seizure. The penalty for not having a stamp can exceed 10 times the original cost and the Department of Revenue concedes that the tax was instituted with the expectation that most dealers won't buy the stamp. "Dealers can do it either way," says Assistant Commissioner for Operations Sam Chessor. "But in reality, the payoff for us is going to be on the back end, not the front end. "

    And what a payoff: since the tax was enacted in 2004 it has netted Tennessee $3.5 million in extra revenue, 75% of which goes directly to the enforcement agencies that carry out the drug busts. Still, some opponents argue that adding such steep penalties on top of criminal charges amounts to a second punishment, and thus a violation of double jeopardy law. "Aside from this incredible acrimony and bill-collecting mentality," says Knoxville attorney Gregory P. Isaacs, "you are divested of all your constitutional rights."

    For that reason, a Davidson County chancellor last summer ruled the tax unconstitutional, and stopped the state from collecting Robbins' $1.1 million. But the Department of Revenue, confident the ruling will be overturned on appeal, is continuing with the assessments. Says Deputy Commissioner Reagan Farr, "It's fine to have a criminal and a regulatory scheme running in tandem. We've made sure our statute is purely regulatory, not punitive." But no matter how you define it, the bottom line for Tennessee is that crime pays.

    http://www.time.com/time/nation/arti...578857,00.html

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    Hit By Ban Bus! UndercoverGator's Avatar
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    Illegal drugs taxed? I cannot understand how that could possibly be legal. A banned substance should not be held as 'taxable'

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    Elite Member crumpet's Avatar
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    Sounds like daddy gubmit wanting to have his cake aqnd eat it,too.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    this won't work as long as drugs are still illegal and posession considered a crime. i'm all for decriminalising drugs and taxing the hell out of them, just like tobacco and alcohol, and using all that tax money toward health care and prevention campaigns.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    ^^i agree..i totally think drugs and prostitution should be legalized...and addicts need help, not prison-time..

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    Elite Member moomies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    this won't work as long as drugs are still illegal and posession considered a crime. i'm all for decriminalising drugs and taxing the hell out of them, just like tobacco and alcohol, and using all that tax money toward health care and prevention campaigns.
    I was watching this Canadian documentary the other day featuring our former mayor, Larry Campbell, he is a huge advocate on dicriminalizing drugs (not just pot but hard drugs esp heroine, cocaine etc), he opened up I think the world's first safe injection site here in Vancouver. I don't quite agree with taxing drugs though because the majority of the people here currently addicted to heroine/meth etc are living in poverty and are homeless and they are not going to be able to afford drugs if a lot of tax is added to their sale so I'd think that there would be a black market for it where people would be able to bypass paying tax and still get them dirt cheap...

    If you think it's crazy, you ain't seen a thing. Just wait until we're goin down in flames.

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    Gold Member Corsair's Avatar
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    If they'd just legalize marijuana and tax it like cigarettes and alcohol are, there'd be revenue from that. Quit wasting money and resources chasing pot dealers and pot farms, and go after the harder stuff.
    Don't worry about what other people think. They don't do it very often.

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    Gold Member barbiedoll25's Avatar
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    Oh I am sorry..... prescription drugs are abused right now and i am sure they are taxed by the government b/c they are "legal" but heaven forbid weed starts being taxed..... who would profit? Right now the police and governement profit from putting people who handle weed in jail......... Now coke and heroin are a different story but weed? it is not as bad as alcohol or the legal prescription drugs.

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    A*O
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    this won't work as long as drugs are still illegal and posession considered a crime. i'm all for decriminalising drugs and taxing the hell out of them, just like tobacco and alcohol, and using all that tax money toward health care and prevention campaigns.
    My opinion too.
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